Here at PopSci, we're greatly looking forward to wearing our technology. There's been a lot of work done on this front, from fireproofing to power generation, and now we can add memory storage to the list of things fabric of the future will be able to do.
Whether we’re engrossed in an activity or the alarm clock simply fails to chime, we’ve all been in situations when we say we’ve lost track of time. But our brains have not really lost track at all. A specific group of cells in the brain’s memory center is encoding for the passage of time, researchers report. These “time cells” are key to our perception of sequences of events.
Less than three weeks from now marks the 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, one of the most traumatic events in modern memory and the motivation behind the persistent wars in the Middle East. If you could take a pill that would make you forget that day, would you do it?
IBM researchers in Zurich--working alongside their stateside colleagues--have demonstrated for the first time that phase change memory (PCM) can reliably store multiple data bits per cell over long periods of time. By tweaking their “read” and “write” processes to mitigate problems that have dogged PCM for years, the breakthrough could spell the beginning of a long, slow phase out of flash in everything from mobile devices to cloud storage.
A new brain implant tested on rats restored lost memories at the flick of a switch, heralding a possible treatment method for patients with Alzheimer’s disease, stroke or amnesia. Such a “neural prosthesis” could someday be used to facilitate the memory-forming process and help patients remember.
It’s not artificial intelligence in the Turing test sense, but the technicolor ring you see above is actually an artificial microbrain, derived from rat brain cells--just 40 to 60 neurons in total--that is capable of about 12 seconds of short-term memory.
At the University of Montreal, researchers have found a drug that seems able to decrease a person's recall of a bad memory. It's not exactly Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, but it's a pretty remarkable step down the road to active memory modification. And it worked out so well in the movie, right? I haven't watched the whole thing but it really did seem like Jim Carrey was going to be happy with his new memories.
Magnetic fields applied to the brain can be used to treat ADHD, improve memory and even control your behavior and sense of morality. But unless you're a neuroscientist, it's hard to see the physiology of this phenomenon, other than trying to interpret colorful brain scans.
The following video accomplishes this beautifully.
Adding newborn brain cells to an aging brain can improve memory and decision-making, according to a new study. Adult mice with newborn neurons in the hippocampus, which governs memory and learning, were better able to distinguish between similar events and make better-informed choices. Combined with exercise over a period of time, adding new neurons even had anti-depressant effects, the study says.
In a major breakthrough for Alzheimer’s research, scientists have turned human embryonic stem cells and skin cells into brain cells associated with memory and learning, whose death is key to the progression of the disease. The finding could help scientists test new ways to keep the cells from dying, and could someday lead to lab-grown stockpiles that could be implanted into the brains of Alzheimer’s patients.